With its Christmas trees and free concerts, West Vancouver’s Dundarave Festival of Lights is a great place to enjoy holiday festivities on the North Shore.
Christmas in West Vancouver
Billed as the “Ultimate Canadian Christmas,” the Dundarave Festival of Lights is a very quiet winter holiday festival on most days, but especially interesting on Saturdays during their free concerts.
Over the course of the month up to 75,000 people turn out each year to celebrate the season and admire the festival’s Christmas trees and holiday decorations.
When, What and Where
In 2018, we expect the Dundarave Festival of Lights to run from December 1st until the end of December.
The North Shore festival features a Forest of Miracles – comprised of dozens of decorated Christmas trees – as well as four Saturdays of free afternoon concerts. Also famous at the venue is the Dundarave Nativity, which is a life-sized nativity scene by master woodcarver Bill Seminoff.
The best times to visit the Dundarave Festival of Lights are during the concerts on Saturdays in the afternoons, and at night when the Forest of Miracles is all lit up. Most evenings you’ll find lots of decorated trees, but not a lot of people.
Forest of Miracles
The Forest of Miracles at the Dundarave Festival of Lights features a collection of over 100 beautifully decorated Christmas trees. It’s a festive fundraising attraction where local businesses, organizations and residents make a donation to the Lookout Society’s North Shore Shelter and then decorate their sponsored Christmas tree.
The collection of trees in the Forest of Miracles is a sight to see and all for a great cause.
Saturday Concerts & Events
Every year free concerts take place at the Dundarave Festival of Lights on Saturdays leading up to Christmas. Here is the sample line up from 2017:
- December 2nd – Dundarave Christmas Fair: from noon until dusk.
- December 9th – Dundarave Nativity Paddle Songs: from noon until dusk.
- December 16th – Dundarave’s World Christmas: from noon until dusk.
- December 23rd – Christmas Wassail & Bonfire Night: from 3:00 until 9:30 pm.
Dundarave Christmas Fair
The Dundarave Christmas Fair will probably take place in the afternoon on Saturday, December 1st. This is the day that Christmas tree sponsors come out and decorate their trees. The trees won’t look impressive until the end, after they are all decorated, but there will be live entertainment to keep people entertained.
Performances scheduled for the afternoon in past years include:
- Miles David & the Blue Streak from Capilano University
- Marcus Mosley & the Gospel Chorus – the phenomenal gospel choir performs from around noon until 2 pm-ish.
- Sweet Scarlet – a “sassy” local choral group
- West Vancouver Youth Band
Dundarave Nativity Paddle Songs
From noon until dusk on Saturday, December 9th of 2017, the Dundarave Nativity Paddle Songs was a First Nations’ event including the music of local songwriters as well as traditional songs by Squamish Elders.
World Christmas Concerts
Dundarave’s World Christmas took place from noon until dusk on Saturday, December 16 of last year, and featured an international theme and French, Mariachi and Celtic music.
Wassail & Bonfire Night
The last Saturday before Christmas Day in 2017 was Christmas Wassail & Bonfire Night, which was from 3:00 until 9:30 pm and was the last main event of the festival. Festival goers enjoyed a large bonfire, lots of people and a visit from Santa Claus.
In 2017 the Christmas Wassail & Bonfire Night took place on Saturday, December 23rd.
Also in the Area
While in the area, consider combining your trip to the Dundarave Festival of Lights with a visit to other nearby places of interest. The Beach House is a great restaurant right beside the event venue – just be sure to make reservations in advance, especially on a Saturday.
Dundarave is also right on the water and connected to Ambleside by the seawall, making the area a great place for walks. And finally, just a couple of minutes away is the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre which has one of the region’s best swimming pools, making it a great place to visit if you have kids.
Other places to check out on the North Shore this time of year are the local ski hills (which also offer snowshoeing, tubing and other winter activities), and other top Christmas attractions like Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge, Peak of Christmas at Grouse Mountain, and the Holiday Hi-Light Festival at the Park and Tilford Gardens in North Vancouver.
And if all those amazing places aren’t enough, just on the other side of the Lions Gate Bridge are the millions of Christmas lights at Bright Nights in Stanley Park where admission is by donation.
For more information on the West Vancouver event, click Dundarave Festival of Lights.
For more ideas on places to see Christmas lights in the Lower Mainland, check out Top Things to do at Christmas.
And for more fun things to do in December, check out Vancouver’s December Calendar.